Shuja-ud-Daulah and Asaf-ud-Daulah

Opaque pigment on paper heightened with gold

Image 25.2 x 18.2 cm. ; folio 29.6 x 22 cm. Circa 1770

Seated on an open balcony holding a hookah pipe in his right hand and gesturing with his left, the imposing Nawab Shuja-ud-daula converses with his brother Mirjamani Asaf-ud-daula. A chauri bearer to the right holds a small white scarf in his right hand while another attendant stands below holding a golden staff. The brothers wear traditional hill style white kurtas and turbans, but are depicted with the headgear common to their court of Oudh (Lucknow). A further unique feature of Shaja-ud-daula’s appearance is his voluminous green jacket with gold embroidery and fur trim. While rulers from other courts in the Punjab Hills were regularly recorded in Pahari paintings, this appears to be a rare example of rulers from the Oudh court painted in a Pahari style. As noted by Archer, several Guler painters borrowed certain motifs from later Mughal painting in works done around 1770. Pavilions resting on fluted lotus pillars with rolled curtains and jali balustrades appeared in Guler painting circa 1760 and even later. These and a number of other motifs and compositional traits that were incorporated into Guler works from later Mughal miniatures were responsible for changes in the way Guler artists painted in the second half of the 18th century. Other scholars have noted the stylistic influence of 18th-century painting in Oudh on Pahari painting. In his book Pahari Miniature Painting, Karl Khandalavala suggests that this influence occurred during the reign of Shuja-ud-Daula (1754-75) when some Oudh painters must have emigrated to the Punjab hills. The Oudh architecture that was adopted by Raja Ghamand Chand (1758-74) of Kangra is also frequently seen in Pahari paintings of the second half of the 18th century. Professor Hermann Goetz too observes the marked influence of the court at Oudh in the hills, ‘the splendid political successes and cultural achievements of Sansar Chand II were in the fact the results of ideas, ideals and techniques imported from outside...his palaces, temples, the costumes and style of life at his court, and finally his painting studies were imports from Oudh. The new court dresses were those of Faizabad and Lucknow under Shuja and Asaf-ud-Daulah.’